Suzhou (China), May 14 (IANS) Hosts China started their title defense by thrashing Egypt 5-0 in the first round of the group stage of badminton’s 2023 Sudirman Cup here Sunday.
Mixed doubles pair Feng Yanzhe and Huang Dongping were at their best as they swept Ahmed Salah and Hana Tarek Zaher 21-3, 21-8 to win the opening tie for China.
“They didn’t make it too difficult for us, so on the court, we just focused on ourselves and tried to find some form and feeling,” said Huang.
World champion Shi Yuqi doubled the lead in the men’s singles by beating Adham Hatem Elgamal 21-11, 21-13 before in-form Chen Yufei sealed the win for China with only five points lost in straight sets against Rahma Mohamed Saad Eladawy.
“There was a bit of pressure today because I definitely wanted to perform more at home than abroad,” Shi told Xinhua after the victory.
“The game was tight at the beginning, but later I was more relaxed and found his weaknesses, then I did better,” he added.
In the men’s doubles, Liu Yuchen and Ou Xuanyi downed Kareem Ezzat and Mahmoud Montaser 21-6, 21-7, followed by a masterclass from Zhang Shuxian and Zheng Yu as the women’s duo dominated 21-2, 21-4 against Nour Ahmed Youssri and Doha Hany.
There are 16 teams competing in the tournament, with China in Group A alongside Denmark, Singapore and Egypt. The hosts will face Singapore on Tuesday.
The other clash in Group A saw Denmark beat Singapore 4-1, with Olympic champion Viktor Axelsen rallying past Loh Kean Yew 21-23, 21-13, 21-16 in a 59-minute thriller.
“It’s definitely not easy to play here, a lot of pressure. Loh Kean Yew is an amazing athlete, so to play against him here was a great experience for me and it was a great match and really intense battle,” said Axelsen.
Also on Sunday, Malaysia trounced Australia 5-0 in Group C. In Group D, four-time champions South Korea eased to a 4-1 win over France, and Japan hammered England 5-0.